Sunday, October 01, 2006
The Axis mechanization situation prior to the Crusader Battle
The Axis armoured divisions (15th Pz Div, 21st Pz Div, and Ariete) all had their infantry completely equipped with integral transport, as did the Trieste motorized division. The German division that was in the process of forming in North Africa, tentatively called the Afrika Division, but to come the 90th Light Division, was without transport. The Italian infantry divisions did not have enough transport to be mobile. They were reduced to moving by foot. With these units and the British units, the Official History says that there were as many as 30,000 vehicles about to be in the battle area, upon commencement of the Crusader Battle. The presence of airpower required the use of dispersion, so that there easy targets were not presented to the enemy. The Germans moved in more compact, but still dispersed formation, while the British tended to be widely dispersed under most circumstances. At night, the units would be drawn together to form "leaguers" that were more defensible. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.